|September 5, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 15 • Oakland, CA|
Holy Spirit group brings gifts to African sister parish
Five of us (Rose Smith, Amy and Clarence Wilhelm, Irene Jenkins and I) from Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont had a memorable visit to our sister-parish of St. Joseph, Ndungu in Tanzania in the first week of July.
After driving from Kilimanjaro airport for about four hours we reached the Diocese of Same. There we had Mass, breakfast and a meeting with Bishop Rogath Kimaryo. The bishop and the priests of the diocese were extremely kind to us and gave us outstanding hospitality.
Another two hours' drive through a rough and dirt road took us to our sister parish.
The welcome that they gave us there was exceptional. We were treated like royalty. The entire community waited for us on the road about a quarter of a mile away from the church and we were escorted with singing and dancing to the church.
We had a very interesting dialogue with the women and young people of the parish. We also visited the piggery run by the young adults that Holy Spirit Church had funded. The project is progressing exceedingly well and the youth are very proud of what they are able to accomplish.
The next day was a full day of festivities. Bishop Kimaryo came from Same to St. Joseph to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation for 30 young people of the parish and to be with us.
Rev. Samuel Mvati ensured that the annual visit of the bishop coincided with our visit there. The concelebrated solemn Mass with bishop lasted about 2½ hours with lots of singing and dancing. Our sister-parishioners love music and dancing. That was followed by lunch and entertainment for all the parishioners.
Then there was the time to exchange the gifts. We presented to bishop and Father Mvati a large check for $63,000, raised by our Fremont parish car raffle. The people were extremely thrilled to receive all our gifts.
Among the several gifts that they gave us was a full-grown live goat! The warmth and love of that community will be etched in our memories forever. Having visited and lived with our sister parishioners, we are able to understand better their culture and their many needs. This trip has bonded the two parishes in an amazing manner.
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